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The 'Harding Hotline' Is Humming

Published: March 11, 2016 9:55 pm ET

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Not long after the flames flickered out and darkness settled over the charred remains of 43 horses at Classy Lane’s Barn 1 on January 4, the 'Harding Hotline' was born.

Patricia (Pat) Harding, a Chaplaincy director and well known veteran trainer on the Ontario harness racing circuit, felt the heartache as if it were her own for those who had lost everything in the disastrous fire. She was particularly concerned about the grooms who had lost their horses and their jobs and decided to do something about their plight.

Harding began contacting trainers who needed grooms and contacted grooms who needed jobs. She got the message out on Facebook, and others quickly followed suit publicizing Harding’s call for help.

The calls came pouring into the 'Harding Hotline' from trainers and grooms, alike. Trainers looking for grooms. Grooms seeking employment.

The calls came from East and West. From Prince Edward Island to Manitoba. The 'Harding Hotline' was buzzing with requests. Trainers called her from the U.S. They needed grooms. Grooms who called had a job within hours.

“Grooms called from the Maritimes and were offered jobs immediately, but they had no place to live when they got here. It is sad to see the Mohawk dorms sitting vacant, while grooms have no place to live. I can arrange employment, but I cannot provide accommodation for them,” she said.

“The shortage of grooms is critical. Grooms who normally care for three or four horses are now rubbing five and more,” added Harding.

Pat Harding can be reached by phone at 1-905-876-8543 or by email at [email protected].

(With files from the Racetrack Chaplaincy of Canada)

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